Miss Emilia: 8 Month Update

Another month down! Can’t believe only 4 months until baby will be a year old. It’s going to fly by.

Sleep – Wow this has been rough lately. I’m not sure what’s going on with baby but she went back to 2 night feedings most nights when we were down to 1 and the last two nights she’s been up for 1-2 hours in the middle of the night and will only go back to sleep after another nursing session and being held. It’s so hard to tell with babies what might be wrong. I’ve been thinking her top two teeth are coming in for the past week but nothing’s broken the skin. Then she’s had some congestion so we thought maybe she couldn’t breathe and then she’s also had some tummy issues. We’re trying to help her in all these areas but there’s only so much we can do. It’s been pretty stressful when almost every time I try to put her to bed she screams the house down. We’re out of town this week and to make sure she gets the sleep she needs, I’ve been nursing her before naps (when I’d usually nurse upon wake up) and have been holding her to sleep a lot more. She knows how to fall asleep independently but she just doesn’t want to right now. If this is still going on when we get back, we might have to come up with some kind of strategy to get her to start falling asleep without our help again. Poor thing has been a mess!

Breastfeeding – Everything is going really well here. She really likes her milk and she knows what the word “milk” means along with the sign for milk. No bottles lately but we haven’t really needed to try. I think we might just be off the bottle train which honestly, not having to pump has been pretty nice. And the last time we had a date night, we just went out after she was in bed for the night, making it really smooth for us and the babysitter.

Milestones – Crawling up a storm and can also sit independently now though she does still topple over occasionally. She’s not quite pulling up to stand but she loves climbing on things, especially me, Enzo or Joe if we lay on the ground with her.

Teething – Maybe getting her top two front teeth but who knows at this point. They have looked swollen for the past week or so but she doesn’t really let me look so it’s hard to tell.

Exercise – I think I finally have to go get my wrist checked out by a doctor because it’s not healing. I’ve tried not using it, wearing a wrist brace, soaking in epsom salt, icing it, chiropractor, arnica and acupuncture with no real relief. It’s not a constant pain but anytime I try to lift or grip something with that hand, it’s pretty painful. And it’s hard not using my right hand so I end up hurting it at least a few times a day. It’s made working out pretty difficult but I’m still managing as much as possible. I actually did a free trial for 2 weeks at beachbodyondemand.com and loved it. I joined an accountability group and there’s a private app where you can log your workouts and check in with others in your group. It really did help me be more accountable with my workouts. I feel like eating well has become fairly easy for me, but I’m good at finding excuses for not working out. There is a set of workouts on there that are only 30 minutes and they are hard so you feel really worked at the end! Unfortunately, it’s not in our budget for me to get a paid membership but I’m hoping I can hang on to the momentum I started.

Food – For the most part, Emilia loves to eat. She has her moments and will definitely let you know when she’s done. Some of her favs or things I know she’ll eat include roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, cooked apples with cinnamon, toast sticks with hummus, roasted butternut squash, short cut pasta (like penne or rotini) with tomato sauce, oatmeal (I usually add pumpkin or some kind of mashed fruit in there) and food pouches/smoothies.  We’re working on getting that pincher grasp developed so I can start giving her smaller things as opposed to large pieces that she picks up with her fist. Want to start introducing beans, berries, peas, etc. instead of making her separate food. She did enjoy some sweet potato chickpea stew the other night too!

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Why Jesus?

For weeks now I’ve been wanting to write a post about why I decided to become vegan and why we are raising our kiddos that way. I’ve been writing and rewriting this post in my head over and over. But while I was doing that one night, trying to fall asleep and not succeeding, I realized I’ve never written anything about why I follow Jesus. Now, as important as I feel like my dietary/lifestyle choices have become, Jesus still needs to be first and I felt really compelled to write a post about how I came to know Jesus and what I believe to be true.

Quick background – I grew up Catholic, went to church most Sundays, and completed the religious education classes, but outside of that, I didn’t know much else about God or Jesus. I didn’t really pray much, I didn’t read the Bible (I’m not even sure I had one). I believed in God, but that was it. My grandma passed away when I was 12 and I remember praying for her to be healed when she was sick. And she wasn’t healed. After that, in my 12 year old mind, I thought maybe there is no God if He doesn’t help us when we pray. Then once I got into middle school, my family wasn’t going to church so I didn’t go. I didn’t start attending again until some time in college when Joe invited me to the church he and his mom were attending in Omaha. At the time I was hesitant to go because I didn’t feel I could live up to what I thought a “good Christian girl” should be.  But I did go, and went periodically when I was in Omaha.

Before I really started following Jesus, I suffered with an eating disorder during my Freshmen and Sophomore years of college. Like a lot of college Freshmen, I noticed some weight gain and what turned into trying to “be healthier”, quickly spiraled into an obsession. I would go from eating hardly anything to binging on everything in sight and then purging out of fear of gaining weight from my binge. I struggled a lot making friends at a school where I knew no one and took refuge in my eating disorder. I had control of what went into and out of my body and I also became obsessed with exercise. I was at the lowest point of my life during those two years and honestly hated what I had become. I hated my body and felt miserable in my skin. I couldn’t break the addiction. About one year into the disorder, I told my family, including Joe, but I’m not sure they really knew how to help me. I was very good at hiding it and acted like I was fine even when I wasn’t. It was the end of my sophomore year of college that I realized I could not beat this on my own. I remember the last time I binged/purged and knew in my heart I couldn’t do it any more. I was able to get into outpatient treatment with a nutritionist and psychiatrist that started me on my healing process. I am now 11 years free from the disorder! During this time I was still attending church off and on with Joe. I didn’t have much of a relationship with God but He was in the back of my mind. And now looking back I know He allowed me to recognize my need for outside help, though what I really needed at the time was Him.

Fast forward a little bit to my senior year of college. My roommate at the time was Christian and invited me to attend James River Assembly in Springfield, MO where we were attending college. Since I had been going to church with Joe off and on, I felt comfortable going and started going regularly. At the end of one service, the pastor talked about the importance of having a relationship with Jesus. I felt God speaking to me in that moment and I went forward at the end of service where others were available for prayer. That was the day I decided to trust and follow in Jesus at the age of 21. I was baptized there and began my relationship with Jesus.

Since then, I’ve developed relationships and community with other people who believe in Jesus and have grown in my relationship with Him and continue to learn more. I can tell that Jesus has worked in my heart over the years as I am not that same person I was before or even 5 years ago, or last year. There’s a song I like by Britt Nicole titled “All This Time” and these lyrics really stand out to me:

“I hear these people asking me
How do I know what I believe?
Well I’m not the same me
And that’s all the proof I need
I felt love, I felt Your grace
You stole my heart that day”

Now to the meat of what I believe and what Christianity is truly about. It’s not about being perfect, sinless, better than other people or self-righteous. It’s about L-O-V-E: God’s love for us. I’m studying the book of Romans right now in my Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class and it sums up the good news of Jesus.

God doesn’t ask us to come to Him as perfect beings.  This idea that I needed to have it all together in order to come to God faded away. He knows we’re imperfect and that’s why He sent His one and only son, Jesus Christ, to this earth to die on the cross for the sins of all of humanity. He loves us so much that he was willing to make that sacrifice so those who believe and have faith in Him, can spend eternity with Him in heaven.

We don’t need to work hard or do good deeds to be saved, we simply have to believe in this free gift that God has provided. If we believe in His gracious gift, we then have faith and are made righteous in His eyes.  From my Bible study: “Faith is not a good work. Not only is faith the means of our salvation, it is the ONLY means.” What this means is that the only way to eternal life with God and salvation from sin is through faith in Jesus’ death on the cross. I truly believe in my heart, that this is the only way. It is not exclusive, but inclusive to all. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or what you might do in the future, God can meet you right where you are at and loves you just the same.

It has now been 10 years since I was baptized and gave my heart to Jesus. It would be a lie to say that my life has been perfect and seamless ever since then. God doesn’t promise that we won’t have trials and tribulations when we start following Him. In fact He says the opposite:


Right after I was baptized, Joe and I broke up after dating long distance for about 4 years. It was fairly mutual but after some time went by I felt that it was a mistake and that we were still supposed to be together. Despite wanting to get back together, I let myself get tempted by my newfound freedom (Joe was the only person I’d ever dated). Let’s just say some things happened that caused Joe to not even want to speak to me. During this time, I prayed, repented to God for hurting Joe and waited. And waited some more. I wanted desperately to talk to Joe and explain things and fix it. But I couldn’t. I had to wait for God to work on Joe’s heart first. And as you can see it worked. I remember coming home from a Wednesday night prayer service at the church I was attending and getting an email from Joe. He was ready to talk and after a lot of tears and discussion, we were back together and our relationship grew even stronger after that. The difference between our relationship before I knew Jesus and after is night and day. We used to fight, cuss at each other, get jealous with one another and let drama pull us apart. After we both started following and trusting in Jesus, there was a shift towards togetherness, compromise, genuine love and trust.

The second part of that Romans verse I mentioned earlier really touched me when we lost our baby to miscarriage about a year and a half ago. (Read more about that here.) After we found out we were losing the baby, I had doubts. Why would God allow this to happen? We’d prayed for the pregnancy, dreamed what life would be like with that baby and trusted in Him, but it still happened. I was able to hang on to the hope that the suffering we endure will never compare with God’s glory that can be revealed in us. Now being able to look back, I can see how that event sparked our passion for fostering and allowed us to foster a baby. And then of course, if I hadn’t lost that pregnancy, Emilia would not be with us today. And I can’t imagine my life without her. It feels like she’s always been here.

Though I can see how God has worked through suffering in my life and will continue to do so, it can still be hard to understand why there are so many evil things happening in the world if there is only one God and He loves us so much. This is a hard question that I can only answer with: sin. Because sin is still rampant in this broken world, evil things will continue to happen. I can imagine how hard it is to believe in a good God when these things are happening across the world or even in your own life. I can say that when you do believe and come to know Jesus, you will be able to see God working despite the evil that Satan releases onto our lives.

The goal of this post was to share the good news of Jesus. He is available to every single person on this planet, despite anything you may have done in the past. I thought I had to be perfect before coming to God but once I learned more about Him and opened my heart to what He had to offer, I realized that He wanted me just the way I was. And He loves you just the way YOU are.

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Miss Emilia – 7 Month Update

Time for another update! Emilia is growing so quickly it’s hard to keep up. Poor baby has a pretty nasty cold right now. Stuffy, runny nose, coughing and seems like she has a sore throat. Super cranky understandably and was up for 3 hours in the middle of the night last night. Needless to say, we are ALL exhausted today but we’re pushing through!

Sleep – Still varies quite a bit. I started transitioning her from 3-2 naps since she was not taking her 3rd nap most days. Some days she does great, others she’s not as much into napping but I can count on her at least taking one decent nap a day so I’ll take it. Night also varies, she’s slept as long as 9-9.5 hours a few nights and then only 5 hours some nights but we’ve had a lot more nights with just one night feeding. Loving that! Enzo had very similar sleeping patterns and when he was closer to 9 months old, his naps and night sleep both improved greatly. So I’m hoping we’re on that same track. Being sick is definitely not helping us in the sleep department right now

Breastfeeding – Still going really well. She has taken some bottles again which has been great. But if she’s really upset or tired the bottle just won’t do!

Milestones – We are officially on the move. She’s not the fastest or most efficient crawler yet but I can imagine that by the next post, she will be all over the place. She sees something and goes straight for it. She’s still a little unstable when she sits up but getting there. She’s not much of a talker, more of an observer so no real audible sounds like “mama” or “dada” yet. Joe and I actually have a bet on which one she’ll say first. Time will tell.

Teething – Her two bottom teeth are both all the way through and no other signs of teething at this point. I thought it was interesting that she doesn’t drool at all. Enzo would soak through bibs like nobody’s business so it’s a welcome change.

Exercise – My wrist still hurts from time to time so I’m being pretty cautious and modifying exercises to not mess it up anymore. I haven’t been able to do yoga in a long time because of it and I miss it!

Food – Still mostly on the baby led weaning route. She was having some tummy issues with digesting the larger pieces of food so I’ve been mashing more foods which I put on the spoon and then she feeds herself (making a huge mess!). She won’t let me spoon feed her anyways, she’s pretty independent in that area. She’ll eat most things that I give her but she seems to really like roasted sweet potatoes, oatmeal and butternut squash. She also really likes baby food pouches so I’ve been giving her about one a day, especially ones with pears to help her tummy a bit. For me, I’m going on three months of vegan and honestly loving it. The more and more I research and learn, the more I know this is how I want to try and live and raise my kiddos. I’m hoping to write a post soon about why I started doing this and what my experience has been like so far.

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Miss Emilia – 6 Month Update

Seriously, half a year! It’s insane how fast Miss Emilia’s little life has been going for us. Glad I get to take the time to reflect on each month with these posts. It’s crazy how much she changes from month to month at this age.

Sleep – Definitely better now than the last time I posted. We are still at two night feedings (though she did only have one two nights ago!). She was struggling with naps quite a bit and fighting them/skipping them. I have her on a three nap schedule right now but I think she’ll be moving to two pretty soon. She actually took all 3 naps on schedule two days in a row for the first time in weeks so that was nice! She sleeps in her crib with a sleep sack and loves holding her little lovie blankies while sleeping. She rolls all over the place and mostly sleeps on her tummy. For the most part she goes to sleep on her own with very little crying unless she’s super overtired. If she’s really upset, we get her out for a bit and try again which usually works. Some mornings she still does get up early (before 6 am) but that’s getting more and more rare which is a welcome change.

Breastfeeding – Going strong. Can’t believe it’s been 6 months of breastfeeding. It’s been much easier this time around than with Enzo. Though she did decide that bottles were evil that past couple of times and screamed her head off when someone tried to feed her one. Luckily, Joe got her to take two bottles the other day when I was gone so hopefully that was just a short phase. I’m not a fan of pumping but I need to have some freedom to miss feedings now and then!

Milestones – She’s a rolling pro now and is all over the place. She’s learning how to maneuver her body in other ways too in order to get what she wants but not crawling yet. She can sit up on her own for a bit but not strong enough to be left alone fully. She’s also getting more and more interactive and her personality is really showing through.

Teething – If I had posted this a few days ago I would have nothing to add. But just yesterday I noticed she was chewing on her hands a lot more and trying to bite my shoulder when I held her. She also was a lot more upset at naptime than usual. Felt her gums and her first bottom tooth is about to pop! I’ve been thinking she’s teething for months, basically any time she has a rough day or sleeps poorly, but it’s finally happening! She got up at 4 am for the day today likely because of it. It should be through any day now.

Mental Health – I feel mostly like my pre-postpartum self which is amazing. Anxiety and stress about sleep has greatly decreased. And now that I’m not working, my stress levels are better. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything when I was trying to work, especially when trying to work at home. I think it was the right call to stop working for the moment and I look forward to what God has in store for my future in that area. Though I do feel like I have less time to do things now that I’m fully staying at home which is not what I originally expected. For example, I started writing this post a week ago and I’m finally able to get it posted while the kiddos are asleep!

Exercise – I hurt my wrist a couple of weeks ago and so have laid off most exercise for the moment. It was bugging me but I just kept working out on it (yoga, pushups, etc.) and it kept getting worse. I made a doctor appointment to get it checked out but by the time I went it was already getting better. Want to rest it up a bit more before trying those types of exercises again. I did ride my bike for the first time in a year while pulling Enzo in the bike trailer. That was a workout!

Food – We started baby led weaning with Emilia about a week and a half ago, meaning we skipped purees and just gave her soft foods she can feed herself. After about a week she’s gotten much better at putting food in her mouth and actually eating some. She’s tried bananas, avocados, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots, pears, pancakes (made with just bananas and oat flour), mangoes (her fav!), quinoa and apples. Overall, it’s going pretty well and I’m looking forward to feeding her more yummy foods!

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What I Ate Today – Mostly Vegan

As I’ve talked about in a few posts now, I decided to start eating vegan about 2 months ago. It honestly hasn’t been as difficult as I originally thought. Not to say I haven’t had dreams about devouring plates of chicken…but overall I’ve been able to come up with meals that have been satisfying and tasty. I have a lot of reasons why I decided to start eating this way and am happy to share with anyone who is interested. 🙂 But if you want to learn more about veganism and the benefits of eating this way, there are some good documentaries on Netflix that I liked: What the Health, Forks Over Knives and Vegucated.

Below is a day of eating mostly vegan. I do still eat eggs occasionally, usually about once a week or if they are in something I had already made in the past (like the muffin I ate that was stored in our freezer).

Breakfast: My fav breakfast right now is chia pudding. I made this recipe and it made about 2-3 servings so lasted a couple of days. I topped it with pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, blueberries, bananas and a big scoop of peanut butter. So yummy and super filling. I also really like this recipe too with almond butter instead of peanut butter (even without the blueberry compote).

Snack: My only non-vegan food today. I had a grain-free blueberry muffin that I had made before and put in the freezer.

Lunch: My favorite meals right now are grain bowls with veggies/protein. This one was a bunch of leftovers that I had from earlier in the week: quinoa, roasted chickpeas, bell peppers, tomatoes, kale, sweet potatoes, coconut bacon (it does taste more like coconut than bacon unfortunately) and a mix of nutritional yeast/ground walnuts. I topped it with some hummus. Pretty tasty! I also had my fav kombucha from Buddha’s Brew (local in Austin).

Snack: I forgot to take a picture until I had already eaten this one. I had a whole mango (my fav fruit right now!) and some of these crackers with peanut butter. My go-to afternoon snack.

Dinner: This meal isn’t the most photogenic but it was pretty tasty. Joe had grilled up some eggplant and zucchini then I layered it in a pan and topped with jarred marinara sauce and vegan mozzarella cheese with brown rice pasta on the side. Not going to lie, vegan cheese isn’t my favorite. The texture is fine, but I’m not fond of the flavor. Joe and Enzo both don’t mind it but I think I’d rather just have no cheese. I also had a salad that I forgot to take a picture of with spring mix, avocado, olives and more coconut bacon.

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Miss Emilia – 5 Month Update

Wow…5 months already! Even though I know how quickly time flies, it’s still hard to see that in the moments. These monthly posts help me to remember and try and take everything in each day with my sweet kiddos. Especially hard to remember after an especially sleepless night!

Sleep – Man the 4th month sleep regression has been a bit rough! Some parts of her sleep are definitely better, some are worse. She has been falling asleep on her own at bedtime very easily with little to no crying which has been amazing. And most naps is the same however we’ll still get a really rough nap here or there where she’s really upset. We’ve been transitioning her off the swaddle. She’s swaddled with arms out at night now and just one arm out at naps. She started getting close to rolling in the crib so it was time. We’ve also been trying naps in the crib and not using the swing in the morning anymore. She has gone back to sleep a few times in the early morning in the crib on her own which has been great! Her biggest regression still though is we’ve lost her longer stretches of sleep at night. Her first stretch of sleep used to be anywhere from 5-7 hours but over the past few weeks it’s been 3-4.5 which has been hard. Sometimes her second stretch is 4-5 hours which lets me get a little bit more sleep but this doesn’t always happen. She’s been waking up happy in the middle of the night trying to roll around so hopefully once she’s more efficient at rolling her sleep will lengthen a bit. I can dream right?

Breastfeeding – Going well. Only issue is distracted eating still, especially when Enzo is around. He wants to chat with her when she gets up so I have to try and convince him to do something else while I feed her or she just wants to play with him.

Milestones – She just rolled from her back to tummy yesterday. She’s been practicing for about a week or so and getting stuck on her side. She especially likes practicing in the middle of the night and early morning! She’s not super efficient at it yet so she’s not rolling all over the place, but it’s only a matter of time. Enzo didn’t roll like this until 6.5 months so I wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon!

Mental Health – This has been a constant prayer for me and I credit my decreased anxiety to God. Even though Emilia’s sleep hasn’t been great, I’ve felt much less anxiety over the past few weeks and have noticed I’ve been able to roll with whatever is happening so much better. If she took a short nap or skipped a nap I would get super upset, but I’ve been able to not get stressed and remember that this is a short time in her/our lives. Sleep will get better, than might get bad again and then we’ll have a toddler like Enzo who sleeps through the night with no issues. Trying to hold on to all of that.

Exercise – Still doing my at-home workouts as often as I can squeeze them in. It’s especially amazing when both kiddos are napping at the same time. If so, I almost always try to get a short workout in unless I’m feeling extra tired. When the weather cools off (October?) I would like to try running again. I was running quite a bit before getting pregnant with Emilia and did my first 5K right before as well. It’s not easy for me but that makes me want to work a bit harder at it. Hoping I can get back into it soon.

Food – Emilia hasn’t started any solids yet and we’ll hold off until she’s over 6 months and can sit up by herself. We’re planning on doing baby led weaning again (what we did with Enzo) which means we’ll skip the pureed food and let her feed soft foods to herself. Looking forward to that! I’m also still eating mostly vegan (some eggs now and then) and it’s been going really well. I saw a nutritionist the other week and that was really helpful in making sure I’m feeding my family the right nutrients. Joe is still eating some meat, eggs and cheese and Enzo still has cheese and eggs occasionally as well. Planning a “What I Ate Today” post soon!

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Miss Emilia – 4 Month Update

Miss Emilia is not a newborn anymore! Crazy to think that she’s turning into a baby and even looking back at her newborn photos, she looks so different already. She’s getting more fun every day and interacting with us and things around her so much. I’m looking forward to seeing how she grows and changes each month.

Sleep – Well things are good some days and not so good others, which I guess is still expected at this age. We were working on getting her to fall asleep on her own using the swing which worked for a while and then started not working without her crying a ton. She’s been skipping naps during the day and taking a really long time to fall asleep for the night. Her longest stretch of sleep also regressed at night but she’s at least been going back to sleep after her first feeding. The second feeding is iffy but sometimes she’ll go back down if I put her in the swing until after 6 a.m. Those are good mornings! I know she has so much going on right now that can affect her sleep so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time.

Breastfeeding – Still going strong in this area. She eats about 7 times a day and luckily will take a bottle as needed when I’m gone. I’m thankful that feedings are getting easier and shorter as she gets bigger. The only issue we have sometimes is she’ll get too distracted to eat so I usually feed her in her room which helps. If I try to feed her while watching TV or looking at my phone she wants to see what I’m doing. And sometimes she just wants to chat and smile at me instead of eating. 🙂

Milestones – She rolled from her tummy to her back the other day but doesn’t do it all the time. She is getting much better at tummy time and not screaming during it anymore. She’s also getting better at grabbing toys though she can’t always hang onto them for very long. Still loves smiling at people. She’s also been really interested in looking at the food we’re eating and reading books.

Mental Health – This has greatly improved over the last month. I’ve still had a few days here and there where her sleep (or lack of) greatly affects my mental health and gives me a ton of anxiety. This is an area that I constantly have to pray about and give to God over and over. It’s so hard for me to let it go but it’s a work in progress.

Exercise – This has greatly improved for me over the last month. I’ve been able to start doing harder workouts and have been a bit more consistent. Enzo has actually be gone for over a week (went on a trip with family) and I’ve had a ton more free time at home when Emilia is sleeping so I’m trying to exercise as much as I can while he’s gone. My favorite YouTube channels I’ve been using for workouts are POPSUGAR Fitness and Christine Salus.

Food – Over the past few weeks I’ve been transitioning to a vegan (whole foods plant-based diet) and it’s been going pretty well. I’ve considered being vegetarian or vegan for a while. I did eat Paleo (mostly meat and veggies w/no grains or legumes) for a couple of years because of a lot of digestive issues I had and felt pretty good. When trying to get pregnant with Enzo I was able to start incorporating some gluten free grains and beans again. I’ve been eating a mostly natural, gluten-free diet for a while now and recently watched the documentary What the Health. It had a lot of good information and points that I knew about regarding veganism but mostly chose to ignore. We also were spending a lot on groceries and I knew if I cut meat out it would help our budget a lot. I’ve already been avoiding dairy because I’m confident it hurts Emilia’s tummy (I learned that soy also bugs her since I increased it).  I want to try and eat this way for at least a few months to see if I feel any improvement in my digestion and energy specifically. Joe did a 2 week vegetarian challenge and stuck with it but he wants to continue eating meat a few times a week which I’m fine with. I think we’re going to try and buy higher quality meat less often (locally from the farmer’s market) instead of buying lower quality, factory raised meat all the time. Enzo still has been eating dairy and eggs but he’s never been a big meat eater (he’ll choose beans over meat every time) so I don’t think he’ll miss it much! Luckily, there are a ton of protein options for vegetarians/vegans and I’ve been making a lot of new recipes over the past few weeks which has been fun.

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Miss Emilia – 3 Month Update

The last three months have been the most challenging, yet most rewarding three months of my life as a mom. Transitioning from one to two kids has been rough. There have been some really amazing, blessed days and some really hard, dark days. Of course, I am so grateful for Emilia, my sweet rainbow baby, but newborn babies are rough on me and Joe. We learned that with Enzo and when we fostered the newborn baby back in the fall. I knew it was going to be tough having a newborn in the house again but I also knew we would get through it.

Sleep – The first month or so things were smooth. Emilia slept well, was calm, didn’t cry much and just seemed to fit into the family easily. But something shifted around a month to two months and things got really hard. She’s been dealing with some major digestive issues with uncomfortable gas and silent reflux that makes it hard for her to sleep well and it seemed to be bad around 3-5 a.m. every day. We went through a really rough period where we were up multiple times every night, she would be awake for 1-2 hours at a time, not go down easily after her feedings and especially any time after 3 a.m. we’d have a really hard time getting her to stay asleep. Joe and I were able to tag team as much as possible but it was still rough not getting more than one hour of straight sleep some nights.

Since getting back from our trip to Houston, Emilia has actually slept amazingly well on our trip and had her longest stretches of sleep and was going back down easily in the middle of the night. I know things with babies can change easily, but I’m hoping some of those really rough nights of being up every 1-2 hours is behind us. If not, I pray for strength to get through and for reminders that this all will pass.

Breastfeeding – This has been much smoother this time around. The first couple of weeks were rough as my body adjusted to nursing again, but since then we’ve been smooth sailing. She has struggled with getting too much milk too fast but now that she’s getting bigger she’s handling it all much better. Thankful to not have the same struggles as I did with Enzo in this area!

Milestones – Miss Emilia is in love with smiling and talking to people. She does pretty good at tummy time but no indication of rolling at this point. She’s not quite grabbing toys yet but I can tell she’s getting much more interested.

Mental Health – Once the sleep deprivation started getting worse, my mental health also starting deteriorating. We’ve had so much support this time around and I’ve been really good about asking for help and that has been a huge blessing. I don’t think I’ve suffered with postpartum depression the same way I did with Enzo, but I’ve honestly had some days/weeks of depression, mourning the loss of my old life with just Enzo, and anxiety over anything sleep-related. Sleep is my medicine and when I wasn’t getting it consistently, I truly felt like I was losing my mind.

Just over the last week or so, things have started to turn a corner. About two weeks ago, I hit my lowest point and the depression took over my whole body. I felt an ache in my gut and couldn’t stop crying for two days. I honestly felt like someone had died. I hadn’t felt it that bad since she was born, so I reached out to my midwife to get some ideas on any supplements or other things I could do as waiting it out wasn’t an option anymore. I started taking a B vitamin supplement and had Joe take her for a couple of night feedings to try and get me a little longer stretch of sleep. She also recommended a fish oil supplement but it hurt my stomach so I decided to not take that for now. I’m also maintaining appointments with my therapist.

We just had our first family trip to Houston and leading up to the trip, I had a lot of anxiety about what it was going to look like and thought it was going to be really stressful. There were moments of course that were hard, but overall our trip was a huge blessing. My sister-in-law also took Enzo the week before that which was amazing timing. I was able to relax more with just Emilia and I feel that it truly helped my mental health start to get more stable.

Exercise – It’s been really difficult to get into any kind of exercise routine. The only real chance I have is if Emilia and Enzo are sleeping at the same time, and that doesn’t always happen. When I’m exhausted it’s also hard to convince myself to exercise. Right now my main form of working out is bouncing on the yoga ball numerous times a day while putting Emilia to sleep! Hopefully in the next month or so I can start getting more workouts in each week.

The second time around, being able to see that one day Emilia will be a toddler like Enzo, and the sleep issues will be behind us, is really helpful. When Enzo was a baby, not knowing what the next stage would look like, I felt like it would never end and I’d never sleep again. But I know that’s not true and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Toddlers have their own issues, but it doesn’t cause me as much stress or anxiety as the lack of sleep does.

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Remembering Our Loss

April 6 marked one year since we found out we were losing our pregnancy at 11 weeks. That was the first and last time I saw that baby on the ultrasound and will never forget that moment. The raw heartache I felt when I realized that my dreams and hopes for that pregnancy and baby were now gone. Even now that I can hold Emilia and see God’s glory through that loss, I still ache for that baby and wonder “what if”. What would our life be like if that baby was born instead?

But I’ve seen how God has worked in our lives over the past year and know that the loss was part of His greater plan. If we hadn’t of lost that pregnancy, we wouldn’t have pursued our foster license and would not have fostered the newborn baby last fall. And of course, I would not have gotten pregnant again and Emilia would not be here. I think the experience has grown both mine and Joe’s faith and trust in God.

It was difficult being pregnant, especially in the beginning, right after that loss. It was only three months in between and we were not quite ready yet. But God doesn’t always wait until we are fully ready to put His plans into action. I struggled for some time worrying about what might happen with the pregnancy and preparing myself for the worst to protect my heart for the loss again. Even as my pregnancy progressed, I knew something could still happen. I could lose her later in the pregnancy, she could be stillborn, she could have serious medical issues…all of these things haunted me and I knew that’s not how God wanted me to live.

Through a lot of prayer and pure surrender to Him those thoughts and worries slowly disappeared. I felt such a calm peace knowing that no matter what, even if one of those things happened, God would take care of me. And knowing that Jesus has been through everything that I have and knows exactly how I feel saved me from those dark moments.

Towards the end of my pregnancy, I started getting anxious for the birth and for what the postpartum period would look like because of the hard time I had when Enzo was born. I didn’t want to have a difficult birth and definitely didn’t want to go through postpartum depression again especially now having Enzo to take care of. I can honestly say that God has thoroughly protected our family so far. Not that things have been perfect, I’ve had my anxious, frustrated, emotional moments, but to a normal degree. He has brought so many people into our lives that have been extremely helpful, cooking, cleaning, watching the kids, doing things that are truly supporting my mental health. It has been a true blessing and I don’t know how I’m going to repay everyone for all that they’ve done for our family so far.

We’re still in the thick of newborn life as Emilia turns 6 weeks old today but I can say that we’re making it. Every day has its challenges but I am so blessed that God is allowing me to be a mom to Enzo and Emilia and I hope that I can show them who God is as they grow.

Looking back, that loss still hurts and I will always wonder about that baby and who they might have been, but I know that one day I will get to meet him or her and find out. I hope that as I look back each year, I can see God’s grace and plan unfolding even more.

To read our about our loss story, click here.

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What I Ate Today: Breastfeeding

The initial weeks of breastfeeding is the hungriest I’ve ever been in my life. I remember feeling the same way with Enzo and this time is no different. I always thought being pregnant would make me hungry, but nursing a tiny baby round the clock while recovering from birth makes me one hungry mama! Below is what I ate in a day. I’m trying to get as many healthy calories as I can and incorporate lots of healthy fats. I also drink water constantly throughout the day to stay hydrated. With Enzo, I think after the first few months my hunger calmed down a bit but I was always still hungrier than normal until I stopped breastfeeding entirely.


Breakfast

Smoothie (frozen banana, small orange, spinach, chia seeds, 2% milk Greek yogurt, coconut water and honey), one piece of gluten free toast with almond butter and a hard-boiled egg


Lunch
Bratwurst, roasted green beans, potatoes and sauerkraut. No that’s not a beer it’s pineapple kombucha. 🙂


Snack
I had two of these Lara Bites. So yummy!


Snack
Me and Enzo split a pear and I dipped mine in some sunflower butter. We also made these lactation energy bites (I substituted flax seed for shredded coconut and doubled the recipe) so we ate some of the batter too.


Dinner
A friend brought us a crockpot meal of maple chicken, sweet potatoes and carrots and I threw together some quick salads.


Bedtime snack
Even if I’m not super hungry before bed, I get in a snack so I’m not starving in the middle of the night. I’ve been having Greek yogurt with blueberries and homemade granola (thanks to another friend!) every day.


Middle of the night
I’ve been addicted to these Kashi nutbutter bars which are AMAZING. I eat one during one of Emilia’s night feedings. I also sometimes eat a small orange if I’m still hungry during the next feeding. I keep these by the bed so I don’t have to go downstairs in the middle of the night.

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